FDA issues warning letters to companies marketing Ebola “cures”

We love to post stories about the FDA doing its job to product consumers against questionable drug claims. Yesterday, the FDA announced they sent warning letters to three business entities more or less telling them to stop advertising bogus cures for Ebola.

Medical Countermeasures Initiative > 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa.

FDA has issued Warning Letters to three firms marketing products that claim to prevent, treat or cure infection by the Ebola virus: Natural Solutions Foundation, Young Living, and dōTERRA International LLC. There are currently no FDA-approved vaccines or prescription or over-the-counter drugs to prevent or treat Ebola. Individuals and companies promoting these unapproved and fraudulent products must take immediate action to correct or remove these claims or face potential FDA action.

Experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments are in the early stages of product development, have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness, and the supply is very limited. There are no FDA-approved treatments for Ebola available for purchase on the Internet. A claim that a product prevents, treats, or cures a disease requires prior approval by FDA.

The FDA (and for Natural Solutions Foundation, the Federal Trade Commission as well) notified the companies that due to their promotion of their products as intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, those products are drugs. Since they do not have FDA approval for such “drugs”, they are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The products, and thousands of others, are sold as “dietary supplements”, not intended as a cure or treatment (you’ve seen the disclaimer before). However, many of these products get very close to line as they use testimonials and claims that their product works for a particular condition. All three letters site language found on websites and social media that qualify as claims of a cure. That’s a no-no. You are in violation.

The Natural Solutions Foundation markets “Silver Sol Nano Silver” (colloidal silver) as a natural cure to kill viruses including Ebola. (FDA letter)

On the home page you have a YouTube video embedded titled, “URGENT MESSAGE to EBOLA-STRICKEN NATIONS’ HEADS OF STATE.” In the video you state:

“As of now it is said that there is no treatment against Ebola, and that is not true. In fact there is a well-known, well characterized, nutrient. That is Nano Silver…. [I]t does kill every pathogen against which it has been tested, worldwide, without exception. There is no other effective solution …Nano Silver …is unlimited in its effectiveness …[and is a] safe, non-toxic …and available solution against Ebola and every other communicable disease….”

Not true. Colloidal silver is not considered safe or effective for disease treatment.

The dōTERRA Essential Oil products are marketed for a wide variety of conditions (always a red flag) including “viral infections (Ebola), bacterial infections, cancer, brain injury, autism, endometriosis, Grave’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, tumor reduction, ADD/ADHD,” etc. The FDA notes that none of thes conditions are “amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners.” They also remarked that essential oils rubbed on the body or inhaled can not be a “dietary supplement”, since they are not ingested. (FDA letter)

The same goes for Young Living Essential Oil products – “Thieves,” “Cinnamon Bark,” “Oregano,” “ImmuPower,” “Rosemary,” “Myrtle,” “Sandalwood,” “Eucalyptus Blue,” “Peppermint,” “Ylang Ylang,” “Frankincense,” and “Orange”. The FDA considers them misbranded, also a violation. (FDA letter)

Oh if treatment for Ebola was so easy…

These are only a few of the companies promoting untested, possible unsafe treatments for Ebola and other diseases. It’s unscientific, unethical, and a quick way to make a buck off a fearful public. In worst cases, use of such products in areas of potential contamination may prevent actually useful prevention and treatment routines.

This is why we have government and regulations. A free market for so-called health products would result in deaths.

  10 comments for “FDA issues warning letters to companies marketing Ebola “cures”

  1. chemical
    September 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    The only thing colloidal silver will cure is the condition that every human being on the planet has: not having blue skin.

  2. Eric
    September 25, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Now we know where “grey” aliens come from … people taking colloidal silver. Mystery solved!

  3. fredthechemist
    September 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    No, it also cures a swollen wallet.

  4. @GeekPharm
    September 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Here’s an update on doTerra’s and Young Living’s response, from the local news station:


  5. Artor
    September 25, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    It cured a friend of mine of having intestinal flora. He was trying to treat Candida with colloidal silver, using silver strips & a battery. He got a phone call while mixing a batch, and got an opaque black glass instead of translucent grey, but he drank it anyway. It killed everything in his guts and he was sick as a dog for 2 weeks afterwards, relying on probiotics to repopulate his intestines. But he killed off the Candida too! Yay?

  6. JBE
    September 28, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Warnings? I’ll be impressed when the FDA breaks down their doors and arrests them for promoting things that could get people killed by luring them away from taking real preventive measures and seeking real treatments if the disease ever reaches our shores.

  7. September 28, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    There are laws. The government only has so much power. The other side can sue too.

  8. Cliff
    October 2, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    In 2008 (the latest year for which I have data), 212 people died from the use of FDA-approved drugs. 0 people died from the use of nutritional supplements.

  9. October 2, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    This statistic is not straightforward and, as you put it, is misleading. And, untrue.


    (and that just took me 20 seconds) Go to http://whatstheharm.net/

    The FDA drugs have at least been tested for safety and efficacy. Why take a dietary supplement that was never show to be beneficial AND could be unsafe. That’s not wise.

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